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Chevy Cobalt vs. Ford Focus



  • gmoudygmoudy Posts: 67
    OK folks, let's look at some of the "better" points of the Cobalt compaired to the Cavalier. These will be on the coupe models only.

    1. More headroom: Cobalt front 38.7 inches Cavalier front 37.6 inches. Not too much of a difference to be a big deal.

    2. More horsepower: Cobalt 2.2L 145HP Cavalier 2.2L 140HP. Not too big of a deal since the Cobalt weighs about 374 pounds more than the Cavalier. You'll need the extra HP.

    3. Both vehicles have almost the same interior volume and cargo space. Both vehicles are about the same in overall length.

    4. If the Cobalt is supposed to be in the economy class, than why is it $3300 more than the Cavalier?

    I've owned three Cavaliers and enjoyed all of them. In fact, I still drive a 1998 Z24. Looks and runs great. I cannot say that I like the Cobalt as a replacement for the Cavalier. This is my opinion. I know that some others just love their Cobalts. Everyone has their own likes. I just don't see the big deal about the Cobalt.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    If nothing else, the Cavalier has some of the worst crash test results of any car in the US. The Cobalt is one of the class leaders.
  • gmoudygmoudy Posts: 67
    You'll need to show that to me. I looked up several crash test reports on the Cobalt and they all stated that it was not tested yet. The Cavalier has a 4 star frontal crash rating.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,452
    a 2000 explorer drifted out of it's lane and hit a cobalt . the cobalt driver was killed. don't forget the star rating is vs vehicles in the same class.
  • ambullambull Posts: 255
    Motortrend compared the sportiest models of several econos and rated Focus ST ahead of Cobalt, which was dead last - not sporty enuf. I agree.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    gmoudy - go to or

    explorex4 - I'm sure someone in an explorer has killed someone in just about every car out there, don't single out the Cobalt.

    ambull - I didn't really understand that comparison. The base Cobalt is not meant to compete with the Corolla XRS or the Focus ST. It competes with the regular Corolla and the regular Focus. If they're going to take the top of the line 'sport' models of these cars, why not use the Cobalt SS? If there is no sport-sedan version of the Cobalt, why include it, just makes it look bad.
  • ambullambull Posts: 255
    They didn't compare the base Cobalt; they compared an LT I believe. They didn't do an SS because it's a coupe and they were comparing sedans. They compared the sportiest Cobalt sedan available. They didn't compare any Civics because none were sporty enough, so maybe they should have excluded the Cobalt too, but left it in because it is a new model.

    The sportiest model would be the 2006 SS? sedan with the forthcoming 2.4 Ecotech, but that's not available yet.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,452
    i wasn't trying to single out the cobalt. i just happened to see a story in the paper about the acccident. a 4 star rating for any car of that class does not buy you much safety.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    ambull - They should have left it out. The LT is and has always been a 'luxury' trim. There is nothing sporty about the car, it does not compete with those other cars - it shouldn't have been in the competition

    exporerx4 - Even a 5-star rating doesn't buy you much safety against a 4500+ pound truck. It's very unfortunate.
  • huntleyhuntley Posts: 14
    As a 54 year old male who does minimal driving, I am trying to decide on whether to purchase a Ford Focus ZX5 ($16,800) or a Kia Spectra SX (14,800). I have narrowed my choices down to TWO vehicles. According to Consumer Reports, the Ford Focus is rated number one, whereas the Kia Spectra is "out of contention" due to poor crash results :cry: . Owners of the Kia Spectra have said the car suffers from "nose plow" when braking, as well as "understeer" and a noisy engine at highway speeds. I tried BOTH vehicles and found that the Focus had a better seating position, but cheap looking interior materials. The Spectra's interior looked superior and the handling felt similar to the Focus, even though it had a much lower stance. This is a difficult decision. I also drove the Mazda3 but ruled it out because I found the seats were as hard as concrete. I tried the Cobalt and those seats were the same. The most comfortable seats are in the Focus and the Spectra. Because of Kia's poor history and "pooh poohing" from the auto industry, I am reluctant to purchase one, plus I have never seen one on the road. Even the salesperson at KIA told me the car was a hard sell. Could someone please offer some advice and suggestion to help me make my final choice? Are both cars silly looking for a 54 year old male? One added piece of info . . Kia and Ford are both conveniently located near my home.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi - welcome! I think the Low End Sedans is the best place of three you posted for this conversation, so let me ask those who would like to respond to continue at this link: huntley, "Low End Sedans" #3137, 13 Jun 2005 11:38 am.

    Good luck!
  • cobaltlscobaltls Posts: 5
    I disagree brookesmithey. I own a Cobalt LS and if you look at it from the side it resembles a cavalier. From the back it looks nothing like a cavalier but the side and possibly the front definatly has some aspects of a cavy.
  • The Chevy Cobalt is a much much better car than the Ford Focus or the Mazda 3, It has a heck of alot more power than the Mazda 3 or the Ford Focus. I know this because I have gone head to head with each car. The cobalt not only took both cars off the line but stayed ahead of them the whole time. The styling is far superior that of the Focus or the 3. I have also driven the focus which sits way to high and does not handle as well as the Cobalt.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Huh? How do you figure?

    Here are a few stats and comments from Car & Driver magazine regarding your Cobalt and my Mazda3:

    Cobalt: 2.2-liter, DOHC 16-valve inline four with twin balance shafts: 145 hp
    Mazda3: 2.3-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four with twin balance shafts and variable valve timing: 160 hp

    Acceleration, seconds:
    Cobalt, 0-60 mph: 8.4
    Mazda3, 0-60 mph: 7.4
    (Both had manual transmissions)

    And acceleration isn't everything. What did C&D think of that old-fashioned twist-beam rear axle in the Cobalt?

    "Still, extra body roll and softer helm responses—there's a reason twist-beam axles aren't on F1 cars—mean less entertainment for the Cobalt driver than for drivers in some other value cars, notably the Focus and Mazda 3."


    Some other stats they measured:

    Braking, 70-0 mph @ impending lockup:
    Cobalt, 188 ft
    Mazda3, 169 ft

    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad:
    Cobalt, 0.77 g
    Mazda3, 0.87 g

    Now, get an SS and maybe we'll have something here -- but keep in mind that it's no longer in the same pricing league as the Mazda3 -- C&D reports the base price of the Cobalt SS is $21,995, and the SS it tested had a sticker of $24,560. My 2005 Mazda3s hatch had a sticker of just over $17.5K.

    I guess the moral to the story is, bring some numbers with you next time. There are too many variables in traffic-light drag races (including a big one -- the honesty of the reporting party) for them to be very reputable against actual measurements taken by the automotive press under much more controlled conditions with people who know how to drive cars.


    P.S. Styling is very subjective. But since you went there, we had a '95 Cavalier in our driveway for five years and the Cobalt looks WAY too much like it 10 years later.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Were you "racing" a 3i or a 3s? Do you know the difference?

  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    I guess the moral to the story is, bring some numbers with you next time.

    Mazda 3i [2.0 liter] 144hp/135tq
    Cobalt [2.2 liter] 145hp/155tq (obviously a big advantage here)

    Mazda 3s [2.3 liter] 160hp/150tq (less than the base Cobalt)
    Cobalt SS[2.4 liter] 170hp/170tq (to be released)

    Mazdaspeed 3 [???] ???hp (to be released)
    Cobalt SS S/C [2.0 liter] 205hp/200tq

    So there are the numbers - the Cobalt wins on power easily (it also weighs an extra hundred pounds). Is it the better car or the better performer - different discussion. These are just the numbers.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    let's drop the Mazdas from this conversation since they are not part of the topic. :)
  • mspeachmspeach Posts: 1
    I had a 2000 Focus and loved it, but totalled it in a wreck and I replaced it with a Cobalt. Although I loved the Focus, I have found that the Cobalt is a much smoother, quieter, solid car. Very comfortable, and gets better gas milege than the Focus. I went into the Cobalt because of the employee discount deals, which Ford now also has, but didn't at that time, or I may have bought a new Focus, but am really glad that I tried the Cobalt. The only thing I don't like about the Cobalt is that the trunk opening is small. It has an ample trunk but the opening is small and higher than the Focus, so it is hard to get something big and heavy in by myself.
  • allfiredupallfiredup Posts: 736
    I've never owned a domestic car, but I actually like the Cobalt. I think it's decent looking (especially compared to the Cavalier) and the interior is a huge improvement for GM. The Focus is really looking old to me. The new Focus interior helps some, but not enough. Also, I hate that only the ST has the 2.3L and all the others have the weak 2.0L. At least on the Cobalt they offer a choice of the 2.2L with 145hp or 2.4L with 171hp.

    The forgotten domestic subcompact seems to be the Ion. It's a little cheaper than the Cobalt with the same drivetrain on the same platform. I think it looks better than the Cobalt, but you do have to contend with the center mounted instruments. Sadly, when the introduced it in '03 it was only half-baked. Improvements for '05 has actually made it competitive but no one really seems to notice.
  • My daughter is buying her first car. Unfortunately neither she nor I know anything about these two. What is the bottom line? we are looking for cheap but dependable transportation. she has to buy an American car (for work related reasons) and these are the two we have come down to. Are either one dependable?
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